“Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even today do I declare that I will render double unto thee;”
In looking at this verse I would like us to notice first of all, its context. In verse number nine we see that God has had Zechariah tell them about the coming of Christ which was fulfilled in Christ’s entry into Jerusalem when He was received with praise and Hosannahs by the people. The Lord says nothing here about the rejection of Christ by the Jews. Nor does there appear anything here about the church or the coming church age. Yet we do see that the heathen are going to be spoken too. Notice the words in verse 10. “and he shall speak peace to the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.” We clearly see here a reference to the bringing of the gentile nations unto God; And the offer of forgiveness. Look again at verse 12.
“Turn you to the strong hold” speaks of invitation. We see here invitation that is spoken to God’s chosen people and is also available to those who are not. It still rings forth today to all the world that will hear and heed the precious word of God and yield their hearts to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. All men are included in this invitation. It does go out to all and to whosoever will. Notice that it is a call to turn. This invitation is for those that are lost and undone without God, as well as those that have come to God and are presently turned away from Him. God calls to all. There is no doubt that there are many who are saved by God’s marvelous Grace and headed for a home in Heaven, and yet they are turned away, facing the wrong direction. This is a call to return to that fellowship that they once had with God. At the same time it is a call to those who have never tasted the grace of God and have not known yet known salvation. Turn you to the strong hold. Again, looking at the word turn, it simply means to change direction, to return or to repent. That is exactly what God commands all men everywhere to do.
Notice now the time that this invitation occurs. It is after the coming of Christ. God does not come out and say that they are going to crucify the King when He comes, nor is there mention made here of the burial and resurrection. But we do see the need for repentance immediately following the coming of the King.
We see the invitation to those who are God’s people in the words, “ye prisoners of hope”. A prisoner is one who is captive, contained, restrained and supposedly unable to escape. Men can not understand or comprehend this part of salvation because men can not build a prison that is perfect and with no way to escape. If a man can be contained hopelessly he will one day have the escape of death. God, on the other hand does not leave this option open. No point is not covered when God saves a soul. He is very thorough in giving everlasting life. No question about this. We as the children of God are exactly that, prisoners of hope. We have been apprehended by the Grace and sealed by the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption, bound for all eternity by chords of Divine Love into the heart of the Father. We are prisoners with no desire of escape, and even greater truth, no means of escape if we had the desire. That same God who saved us will love us and never cast us aside. He will deal with us as a father with his children, but He will never dis-inherit us. Note what we read in Lamentations 3:31&32… “For the Lord will not cast off forever: But though He cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.” Praise God, He may chastise us as a father with a child, but He will also forgive us and take us back into fellowship. What precious hope, for “whosoever hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as he is pure.” It is a hope that keeps us trying to live a life pleasing unto Him. And when we fall, we are chastised and brought back. There are those that will say, “If I believed that way I would sin all I wanted too.” Well, I do, and then some, for I do not want to sin. I try and live a life pleasing to God because of what He has done for me, not to try and win everlasting life, but in gratitude for everlasting life. We also live in a fearful respect of a Father who will chastise us and bring us back in line when we sin. We know that He will do so because Christians are warned in Hebrews 12 not to despise the chastening of God. The writer tells us there that all that are sons are partakers, and if not partakers then they are bastards and not sons. Those who are able to continue living a lifestyle of sin and reproach to the name of God have never experienced the saving Grace of God.
If you will remember the prodigal son…he knew that he could go back home again.